Update June 2017
If I had a euro for each time I have answered this question via email, on forums, on Twitter even…! So I’ve decided to write a post with some (hopefully) clear information about Pisa airport, about going from Pisa airport to Pisa central train station or to the Leaning Tower, or from Pisa airport and Central Station to Florence, so that from now on I will simply refer people to this post.
A lazy Italian, that’s what I am.
Pisa Arport or Florence Airport?
Pisa, Pisa, Pisa. Florence airport is small, dangerous, sad. That’s just my opinion of course, but I have travelled to and from both and Florence airport has always been a painful experience. Also, getting out of it by car is not easy and low cost airlines don’t fly there. Of course many Florence fans will disagree, but as I have already written, I’m stating my opinion here, not an absolute, universal truth.
Pisa and Florence are 1h apart and there are frequent trains and buses between the two cities, so I strongly believe Pisa is a much better choice.
Truth be told, some central and northern European destinations are better connected to Florence airport, but in general, I do all I can to avoid Florence airport just out of fear that the plane might land on the nearby Ikea store…
How far is Pisa airport from the city?
Pisa airport, contrary to most low cost airline destinations’ airports, is in the city. Literally. You could literally walk to the train station.
How can I go from Pisa airport to Florence?
Up until last month (May 2017), you had plenty of inexpensive choices. Unfortunately, not anymore.
- There is no train station at Pisa airport anymore. It has been substituted by the brand new Pisa Mover, the shuttle which connects the airport to the central train station. The service is available every day from 6:00 am to midnight at 5/8 minute intervals. The very short ride costs 2,70 euros. Once at the station, you will need to find your way to the train to Florence Santa Maria Novella. There are regular trains every 15 – 30 minutes. You can see the official Trenitalia website for the schedule and fares. The basic ticket is 8,40 euros and the ride is approx. 50 minutes.
- By train from Pisa Centrale. Trains leave every 15-30minutes from the Central Train Station (Pisa Centrale). The basic fare is 8,40 euros and the ride is approx. 50 minutes.
- By bus. Terravision buses leave from outside the arrivals area and can take you to Florence Santa Maria Novella (the central train station, right downtown) in 70 minutes for 10 euros. If you buy the return ticket, the fare is now 10 euros and not 16 euros as it used to be; the price is 6 euro for oneway ticket and there is a special price for tickets bought online (4,99 euro for one way tickets). I would like to thank Veronica again for this information!. Buses run between 8:40 am and 12:20 am, so for late flights this is the only option. Since June 13 2011 a new busline has also been operating. It’s called Autostradale and offers one way tickets from 9.50 euros per person and round tickets for 15.50 euros. On the Pisa airport website you can find schedules and prices for both these companies.
Then of course there are taxis and they usually charge approx. 130 euros. Here is the official website for the taxi company in Pisa called CO.TA.PI. And last but not least, there are many car rental agencies and some of them offer transfer services in minivans with driver for groups of up to 7 people.
How can I go from Pisa airport to the central train station?
This is the biggest change. And in my opinion, the saddest one.
- The only way is by people mover or taxi. The people mover is expensive, 2,70 euros for a very short ride. The bus was very convenient, but I guess the city needed to bring some money in to cover the cost of the investment…
- There are no more city buses reaching the airport. The airport and the train station used to be both on the “red line”, linea rossa, which was the itinerary followed by the LAM Rossa bus, which stopped at the airport every 8 to 15 minutes according to the time of the day and would take you to the central train station in 5 minutes for a 1,20 euro (2 euros if purchased on the bus). Well, that’s no longer an option. However, local’s insight, if you are travelling light, you can just walk to Via dell’Aeroporto, past the roundabout by via Pardi and you can get on the LAM Verde bus for the same price. It’s a 5 minute walk from the airport. You might not want to deal with the trouble but if you are travelling on a shoestring, or just out of principle, that’s your only option to avoid the Pisa Mover to get to the station. You can purchase a ticket at the tobacco shop right by the roundabout for 1,20 euros. Or if you are travelling with some friend, you can get a carnet of tickets (4 ride and 10 ride carnets are available and each ticket is cheaper).
- By taxi. The taxi ride may cost between 6,50 and 10 euros. There is a fee for your luggage too.
If it’s a nice day and you don’t have much luggage you can even walk.
How can I go from Pisa airport or train station to the Leaning Tower?
The change in bus lines makes a difference in this journey too The airport, the central train station and the Leaning Tower were all on the same city bus line (Linea Rossa). The LAM Rossa, the city bus that serviced it, ran every 8 to 15 minutes and connected the airport to the train station in 5 minutes and then goes on to the Leaning Tower in approx 10 minutes. Not anymore. Now you first have to get to the station (see above). Then from there you can get on the LAM Rossa. The bus ticket is always 1,20 euro (2 euros if purchased on the bus) and it is valid for 60 minutes (that even gives you time to hop off at the station, leave your luggage, and hop on the next Lam Rossa). If you get on the bus at the train station, they stop outside the NH- Hotel Jolly dei Cavalieri, opposite to the station.
You can also walk from the station to the Leaning Tower. Pisa is flat and the city center is small and beautiful. Check our walking itineraries in Pisa.
As a last, more pricey alternative, you can get a cab. The fare is 8 to 12 euros.
What is the best station to go to the Leaning Tower?
Many people come to Pisa from Florence to see the Leaning Tower. I recommend they take the time to explore the rest of the center which is really neat. Pisa has two train stations: Pisa Centrale and Pisa San Rossore.
Pisa San Rossore is closer to the Leaning Tower but it is on a secondary line so, unless you are coming from Lucca, get on a train that goes to Pisa Centrale or it will take much longer. There are frequent buses between Pisa Centrale and the Leaning Tower (they leave from outside the NH- Hotel Jolly dei Cavalieri, opposite to the station). Or you can walk: the center is small, it takes 30 minutes or less and it is good for your heart and soul!
Use Pisa as your base…
Have you considered choosing Pisa as a base for your stay in northern Tuscany? The city is pretty, it’s a great transportation hub where you don’t need to rent a car and it’s excellent to visit Lucca, Florence, Cinque Terre and even to go to beach. It’s a lively university city, full of little restaurants and bars, interesting museums and beautiful buildings. June is no doubt the best month to be around. Oh, and I forgot to say that we have a really nice vacation rental apartment in Pisa, Behind the Tower… have I convinced you? LOL